Recommended 4.5 Stars

Shout Factory has released the six Pink Panther films on Blu-ray. Five of them available for the first time, as part of their Select label, and some niggling quality issues aside, the films are more than worth the $60 price of admission. This is especially true, as the original Blu release alone is priced at $35.

The basis of the series, Blake Edwards’ original comedy stunner (1963) was photographed in TLA (8-perf), but the image harvest is from a 35mm reduction element. Released in early 2009, the film looks better than fine, without ever appearing special.

Bits of detritus can be occasionally seen from both the original negative as well as the IP. In addition, optical wet gate anomalies make a guest appearance. More obvious in a 4k up-rez than originally in HD.

Its should be noted, for clarity, that Mr. Sellers passed away in July of 1980, and the final film in the series, which was his final “appearance,” was created from B neg, trims, and outs.

The five films that followed, The Pink Panther, all seem to be older transfers, with acceptable image quality.

Regardless of that quality, the films remain one of the great testaments to not only Mr. Sellers’ extraordinary comedic abilities (“does your doog bite?” “that is not my minky…”), but of comedy as seen through the eyes of Blake Edwards during that era.

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.5

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

Image – 3.5

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.755

Pass / Fail – Pass

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lark144

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Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"
 
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Raul Marquez

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Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"
Yup. Ordered it immediately.
 
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Flashgear

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I'm looking forward to getting my set soon...although I think the first 3 movies are heads and shoulders above the rest...I remember seeing Shot in the Dark and Return of the Pink Panther first run theatrically...Return of the Pink Panther was a very pleasant surprise that recaptured the lovable spirit of the much earlier films...it was full of laughs...perhaps the biggest laugh of all which rocked the theater audience was found in the opening animated sequence...where the Pink Panther takes his turn as a Julie Andrews knock off in a Sound of Music parody...love it!
 
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Larry Geller

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Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?
 

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Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"
Please tell me you're referring to FILMJUNK.
 

Robert Harris

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Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?
But not a clue. Possibly the laser was a mix-down.
 
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Stephen_J_H

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Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?
Shout! Factory's website indicates a DTS:MA 5.1 track for The Pink Panther; whether that is "fake" stereo or not remains to be seen.
 

Robert Harris

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Shout! Factory's website indicates a DTS:MA 5.1 track for The Pink Panther; whether that is "fake" stereo or not remains to be seen.
5.1 is a bucket.
 
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PMF

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In its initial run of 1975, I remember returning to "Return" at least a half dozen times, just to watch the opening heist so stylishly shot by Geoffrey Unsworth.
 
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Thomas T

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I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. :(
 
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Ken Koc

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Is the original Pink Panther ( 1963) the same transfer as the original Blu Ray?
 

TravisR

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I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans.
Not to say that it can't happen but I can't really remember a time when Shout released a box set and then released them as singles. The closest thing I can think of is from the Halloween box set where they did release the 'producer's cut' disc of Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers on its own but the rest of the discs that were new in the box set remained exclusive to that set.
 

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I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. :(
But how much are you willing to pay for individual releases of the 3 that you want? $15 a piece? That's $45 and chances are you will eventually be able to buy the whole box for that price on sale.
 

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a) The Pink Panther was released in mono theatrically. Any stereo home video release was done for home video.

b) I saw a really early sneak preview of Return of the Pink Panther - I don't even think it had the animated titles yet, but I could be wrong about that. What it did have was one unfunny scene after another - horrible - after the initial delight of seeing Sellers it was all downhill. After that, they reshot a lot of stuff and it played better, but never as well as the first two.
 

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Thanks, Bruce. There was conflicting information on IMDb and it's nice to know for sure.
 

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Typically CBS Fox (or just Fox in this case since Pink Panther came out on laserdisc back when CBS was still partnered with MGM) would label a stereo release from them in bold italics on the front cover. That labeling is not present on the Pink Panther.

Also...Bananas was in Stereo? I thought Woody Allen was a staunch mono guy until Philip Glass dragged him kicking and screaming into the multitrack era in 2008.
 
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